"Obviously, some girls live in Texas," Judge Clark Douglas muttered.
"If the band seems slightly low on energy, it's because we spent all of last night #@%!&*$."
The Rolling Stones spent the fall of 1977 in Paris, engaging in a now-famous series of recording sessions that would produce the bulk of the material for their next few albums. The most esteemed of these was 1978's "Some Girls," which the Stones went on tour to promote that same year. One of their stops was at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, a surprisingly small arena for such a massively popular band. Since the center could only hold 3,000 people, the concert was filmed so that other Stones fans might have a chance to enjoy it. Alas, the footage was tucked away in the band's archives for 33 years, but has finally been unearthed, restored, remastered and remixed for our viewing/listening pleasure.
If Eagle Rock's Blu-ray release of Ladies and Gentlemen…The Rolling Stones is an electrifying look at a hard-working, hard-rocking group, then The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas '78 gives us a look at the Stones taking a well-earned victory lap while simultaneously demonstrating their ability to shift with a rapidly-changing musical climate. Roughly half of the concert is devoted to material from "Some Girls," an album that ranges from slinky, funky sexuality (the megahit "Miss You") to surprisingly tender ballads ("Beast of Burden") to smarmy country & western tunes ("Far Away Eyes") to savage rockers ("Shattered") without missing a beat.
However, before that material kicks in, the band warms up the crowd with an eclectic batch of familiar material. After a cheeky introduction from Jagger ("Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the #$&@!#$ amazing Rolling Stones!"), they launch into Chuck Berry's "Let it Rock" before cruising through "All Down the Line," a particularly rowdy "Honky Tonk Woman" and the profanity-littered "Star Star." Having whipped the crowd into something of a frenzy, the Stones introduce the new material. It's a kick to hear crowds getting a taste of tunes like "Beast of Burden" for the first time and responding with a blend of surprise and delight at what they've been given.
More than anything else, this concert seems to be about Mick, Keith and the gang demonstrating that no musical task is out of their reach; they come across less as eager-to-please junkyard dogs than as rock gods offering a display of their powers to a sea of worshipful minions. It's clear how much the band's personality and musical identity had evolved in the few years between Ladies and Gentlemen…the Rolling Stones and this concert; the raw energy has transformed into a much slicker form of showmanship. They toss a cover of "Imagination" into the mix, and wrap up the concert with the wild one-two punch of "Brown Sugar" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Blu-ray) arrives sporting a reasonably satisfactory 1080i/1.66:1 transfer. The concert was shot on 16mm film, and as such looks pretty dingy and grainy at times. Still, it's been cleaned up considerably and is largely free of scratches, flecks, dirt and grime. There are a few instances of color bleeding, but they're not too bad. Additionally, the image is quite soft at times. As always, the primary function of a hi-def presentation of a Rolling Stones concert is to highlight the wild looks in Jagger's eyes and the uncomfortable-looking tightness of the band's pants. The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio track is excellent, as the music is exceptionally well-preserved considering its age. The louder tracks (that is to say, um, almost all of them) offer an impressive kick, and the distribution is impressive as well. The only element which seems short-changed is crowd noise, as they remain nearly inaudible throughout many of the songs. Supplements include a new interview with Jagger, an older 20/20 interview with the band and a handful of the Stones' performances on Saturday Night Live (including Jagger and Dan Aykroyd dueting on "Tomorrow"). You also get a small booklet with some liner notes which double as a gushing review of the concert. As usual, Eagle Rock factors the supplements into the running time and claims that the disc runs 128 minutes, but the actual concert is only 85 minutes.
The liner notes that accompany The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas '78 suggest that this is only a preview of the flood of stuff we're about to see unleashed from the Rolling Stones vaults. While I'm a little hesitant about the idea of another 20 or 30 Rolling Stones concert discs being unleashed over the next few years, this outing is certainly irreverent, untamed fun.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
• Bonus Performances
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